The Self as Character: Using the “I” in Creative Nonfiction

Wednesday, August 11th @ 2 PM- 3:05 PM Eastern

Apart from the deeper psychological reason–self-knowledge doesn’t come easily for most of us–writers often struggle with presenting themselves as a character in their essays because they are too close to the content of their stories.

Additional Information

In this webinar, we’ll consider the potential challenges inherent in turning your complicated three-dimensional self into a character in a work of creative nonfiction. You’ll learn how syntax, diction, and tone can help you craft and modulate your narrative persona in order to serve the subject or the situation of the story.

We’ll look at ways authors craft their narrative personas—sometimes very differently in different stories—and how the “I” necessarily takes on many guises in the realm of personal essays. You’ll also learn tips on pitching stories to editors and navigating the ins and outs of the contemporary magazine world.

In this webinar, you will:

  • REVIEW the popular misconceptions about using the first-person in various forms of nonfiction.
  • CONSIDER the virtues of conceptualizing the “I” as a character that can change across different essays.
  • LEARN concrete strategies for modulating your narrative persona in your own creative nonfiction.

There will be time for a Q & A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar is ideal for any writer who needs to present themselves on the page but struggles with conceptualizing themselves as a character and understanding how the “I” can take on different shapes across individual essays.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories


I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill